VIEW is a state of mind that, through a series of experiments and exercises, you can learn to drop into with ease. When we approach conversations from VIEW we are able to understand others and ourselves in any situation and in a way where even conflict can bring joy and connection.
"Think about this way. If you have a conversation with a person and at the end of that conversation, they feel like they understand themselves and their business better, they want to continue to have conversations with you."
Welcome to the Art of Accomplishment, where we explore how deepening connection with ourselves and others leads to creating the life we want with enjoyment and ease.
My name is Brett Kistler. I am an adventurer, entrepreneur and a self exploration enthusiast. I am here with my co-host, Joe Hudson. Joe is a business coach who has spent decades working with some of the world's top executives and teams developing a unique model of human patterns that underpin how we operate with ourselves, each other and the world. A good entry point into this model is a mindset called VIEW, vulnerability, impartiality, empathy and wonder.
Through understanding and cultivation we learn to easefully drop into the VIEW state of mind, deepening self awareness and increasing our connection with the world around us. To learn more about this podcast or courses, visit artofaccomplishment.com
There are so many approaches out there for deepening communication and interpersonal skills, whether in the realm of the personal or the professional. These frameworks are often composed of learned strategies and techniques that offer perspective style adjustments that may be directionally correct, but most fall short of pointing to the root conditions that facilitate true depth in human connection. What if the key ingredient at the core of strong communication was not a strategy, but a state of mind? How can we cultivate a more connective way of being through practice in our relationships as they are right now? These are the questions behind a practice we call VIEW, which we will be covering in this 5-part series.
Brett: Great. Joe, what is VIEW?
Joe: Practically, it's a way to have conversations. It's a communication methodology that allows your conversations to be far more effective. By effective, I mean more connected, more intimate and more productive, from anything from sales to product development to conversations with your husband or wife or coworker. It's particularly good at creating, like I said, more connection. Also, it's really good at embracing any kind of conflict or having difficult conversations. Practically, that's what it is. Realistically, it's a state of mind. It's communicating from a state of mind, and practicing that state of mind.
Brett: What do you mean by "realistically"?
Joe: To answer that question, I have to really talk about how the whole thing came about. The way that it came about was, I was an investor for a while. I hired this consultant at some point. This consultant had this amazing capacity. He had this capacity to do two things. One, he could sit down and have a conversation with somebody, and in a very short period of time, they could have a breakthrough where they would see themselves and the world differently in a way that gave them more freedom, and more capacity.
He also had this great ability to sell. He couldn't sell what he didn't believe in, so he always sold stuff that he really cared about, but he could sell. I would watch him sit with somebody who was absolutely the opposite of him in characteristic. He would just ask questions, and he would end up selling whatever it is that he was there to sell, about 80% of the time. I would say generally, he had an 80% hit rate in both of these two kinds of conversations.
I would say to him, "Wow, how did you do that?" He goes, "It's not the technique. You can't do this if you're channeling the technique." I've tried. This guy was a character. His name was Case. He would just be like, "You can't learn this. It's not a technique." That's what he would say. Anyway, Case got ill with cancer, unfortunately, has passed away. He wanted a very particular technique of healing that you can only find in California.
He came to California and he lived with my family. We became very close. We were very close before that. I would watch him have these conversations every day. I've learned a lot through osmosis. I had already been 20-something years of self-discovery, so a lot of it made sense to me. When he passed, I was like, "I know there's other people who can do this." I knew one famous person who could have a similar set of conversations. I was like, "I'm going to find out what makes this tick." I went around the world looking for people, found people, and realized what they all had in common. What they all had in common was VIEW, the acronym of VIEW. I'm sure we'll get into it in a second.
The main thing is that it is the state of mind that allows it. It is not the technique. That's why I say realistically, it's the state of mind because if you see this and view this as a technique, it won't work. If you see it as practicing a state of mind that allows for the technique to work if there's a technique even needed, there's definitely a technique that helps, then you can have a tremendous amount of success with it, and not just the success of like, "Wow, now I can have good conversations.” It's success in like, "Oh, now I talk to myself in a different way. Now I am in a frame of mind and I have a perspective that's more open, more free, more loving."
Brett: Come to think of that, I've seen some of the aspects of this work in other places as techniques and they just never seem to land quite as deeply, and the state of mind concept seems to really be key here. Can you explain a little bit more about that?
Joe: Neurologically and physically, when we communicate, there's a lot of things going on besides what we say. There is our body language, there is the empathy that's happening via mirror neurons, there's intonation, there's micro-expressions, there's so many things that are happening outside of language. As animals with mirror neurons, we know that that's happening. Whether we want to admit it to ourselves or not, there's some part of us that has the awareness of this stuff and they can't be faked.
Micro-expressions can't be faked. It is a representation of what's actually happening in your system on an emotional level and on a nervous system level. If you are using it as a technique, it can't work, because the actual state of mind is going to shine through in these other non-intellectual ways. If you think about that for a second, it's like this. It's a very cool thought process.
If you see people, they learn these great techniques that are out there, like nonviolent communication or something like that and all of a sudden, they've been weaponized. You just see them being weaponized. It's like you see all this communication training go south. If you've done communication training, you know you've done it and then it's gone south. It's because communication is a natural out-point of your state of mind. It can help you change your state of mind, but if you just focus on it like I'm practicing a state of mind, and that communication comes out of it, it's just far more successful.
Brett: Can you give us an example of that?
Joe: Yes. Let's say your boyfriend or girlfriend wants your undivided attention and you don't really want to give it to them. You want to watch the soccer match or you want to watch ER or whatever it is, but you decide like, "Oh, they're going to be pissed if I don't, or oh my god, I'm going to listen to the bitch forever if I don't", so then you give them your attention, but it's unwilling. It's full of resentment. It's frustrating, let's just say.
Inevitably, you'll be paying attention to the person who asked you to pay attention and then they're going to start getting frustrated. Now, you don't really want to be here and you're like, "What the hell? I just stopped what I was doing to give you the attention that you asked for. Now that's not good enough?” Who hasn't been in this conversation?
Brett: That's how it starts.
Joe: Yes, exactly. That's how it starts, and it's because it's obvious in everything besides your language that you don't want to be there paying attention. It doesn't feel good, because we know it and that's what I mean. If the state of mind isn't, "Oh, I want to pay attention to you," it will never work. If the state of mind in the communication is "I'm trying to get something out of you," which is the antithesis of VIEW, then it'll never work, no matter what technique you use.
Brett: Then sometimes we actually are duped by believing somebody's intentions that aren't true through whatever techniques they're using. How does that work when somebody's state of mind doesn't shine through?
Joe: The state of mind, maybe if they're like sociopaths so they're not actually having a very natural human experience when they're talking to you, outside of something like that, then it's really two things that happen, when you can't sense this from other people. One is that you have something you want to believe and they are giving you that. We'll believe a lie if it rhymes with the truth that we want to believe.
Now you see this in mass media all the time. It's like, "Okay. Cool. They said that and that rhymes with what I believe, so I'm going to buy into that," or salespeople or infomercials. "Yes. You can be rich and without any effort." "Oh, I want to believe that so you can--" That's part of the ways that we get duped is, that we're actually basically duping ourselves. The other thing that happens is, that, if you study trauma and I don't mean huge trauma. That also is true, like a war trauma or a car accident of trauma, but even the minor traumas of always been criticized by somebody who is supposed to be nurturing you.
When we hear somebody that reminds us of that trauma, then we're not actually hearing them, we're not actually with them, we're with the person or people who helped us get that trauma into our bones. There's this great data on that about how you're not in the same time and space when you're moving to trauma. You see this with war veterans all the time in a major way, where they think they're in the war even though they're on their living room sofa. It happens in minor ways all the time. In those places, then we're not really aware of the person's intentions. Those are the two main ways it happens.
Brett: Those times when somebody starts acting like a child and it's like, "Wait a minute. Okay, they're acting the age they were, when the thing that this is mapping onto occurred to them."
Joe: Exactly. That's exactly right. It's why you can learn really duplicitous sales techniques and they work one out of eight times, because you're just basically fishing for the fish who wants that bait. You can do that, and it looks like it works. If you're authentic and you're actually in a deep care for the person, then it works a lot more effectively, and there's great studies on this of what the best sales techniques are.
You see that they did this with car salesmen. It was even a used car salesman. They were like, "Who are the most effective car salesmen?" There was good car salesman and really good car salesmen, and then there was these just unbelievably great salesmen, just in numbers. The cases of those unbelievably great performers, it was because they actually cared about their customer. They saw it as a relationship.
Those relationships came back over and over again. They saw their job is to really help that person be in the right vehicle, and people knew it and so it worked. The numbers were far better than the whatever it is, one in eight. You can't quote me on it, but it was something like three times the performance of an average car salesperson.
Brett: What does VIEW stand for?
Joe: The acronym. V is the vulnerability, I is impartiality, E is empathy and W is wonder. That's what it stands for, vulnerability, impartiality, empathy and wonder. That's really describing the state of mind. There's some techniques layered on top of that, not much and they're not necessary if you're actually in that vulnerable, impartial, empathetic, and full-of-wonder state of mind.
Brett: It seems like almost ways to check that you're in the state of mind. If you're in the state of mind that these point to, then you will be having vulnerability, impartiality, empathy and wonder.
Joe: Yes. It's like that. It's also they're great ways. I use these four ways to describe it, because they're great ways to sink into it quickly. If you're not there, what are the best techniques, what are the best words or reminders to get you there quickly?
Brett: That makes sense. Let's go through each of them. What do each of these mean to you?
Joe: Vulnerability is to speak your truth even when it's scary. That's what it is to be vulnerable, is to be very much yourself in your truth, even though you're scared of the result or the potential results. Impartiality is not trying to achieve an outcome for yourself or others. It's far more like wandering, than it is like goal orientation. Empathy is to be with a person in their emotions. Wonder, it's a lot like curiosity except for you're not looking for the answer. There's a lot more awe in wonder than there is in curiosity, but you're definitely not looking for the answer.
Brett: Vulnerability sounds a lot like a weakness for a lot of people. How did you come up with this definition for vulnerability?
Joe: Yes. I think the reason that people think being vulnerable as being weak is because they get confused with the difference between being weak and feeling weak. When we are vulnerable, there's often a visceral response in our bodies, an emotional response, a nervous system response like, "Oh, I'm going to get weak. I'm being weak and I'm going to get attacked." You're going to get that when you're being vulnerable, especially for the first 10 or so times.
I think that's where that confusion comes from. Vulnerable, the reason I describe it this way is, if you're not in your truth, you can't be vulnerable. If you're not in your truth, there's no exposure. If I'm pretending to be somebody else and you attack me for being somebody else, it's like, "Well, they're not really attacking me. They're attacking someone else." That's the truth part of it. Then the second part of it is even when it's scary.
Being in our truth isn't scary, if we don't think we're going to get attacked. Being in our truth isn't scary, when we don't feel like somebody will judge us, being in our truth isn't scary when we aren't scared of the consequences, and so vulnerability is being in your truth, even when we're scared of those consequences. It's really the opposite of weakness. It's actually an incredible form of strength.
Joe: It's a very deep practice. Yes. It can take you a very long way if you practice it on a daily basis.
Brett: Yes. It reminds me of the definition of courage, which is that courage isn't the lack of fear, courage is the willingness to feel fear.
Joe: Yes. Not overcome it but feel it, that is so right. Yes. That's it. Yes, that's vulnerability.
Brett: Yes. Let's get into impartiality. It sounds impossible, especially in business. Theoretically, you could just be completely impartial in your entire life and how would you get anywhere that you want to go?
Joe: [laughs] Yes, that's the assumption.
Brett: There has to be some partiality.
Joe: Yes, there definitely is some partiality. If you really, really pay attention, every sentence that we have has some little bit of an agenda in it. It's very asymptotic in that way, meaning that we can keep on getting less and less partial, but we can't become completely 100% impartial.
What I'm talking about here is the difference between getting in your car at a very specific time to get to your job at a very specific time and making sure that you get there and getting in a car and driving around, following what feels great to follow in that moment, and wandering like the old-fashioned Sunday drive. That's what I'm talking about.
In that case, one is highly partial. It is "Let's get in the car, let's get there, let's get there on time. This is the route I want to take, and I don't want traffic and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah." One of them is like, "I'm partial on the fact that I want to take a drive, but I don't care where I end up and I am here to enjoy myself," so that's the thing. The reason this is so important is because we feel when somebody has an agenda for us and we resist it.
Just tell a two-year-old to do something and the nature of them, they say no, right? The more agenda that we have and you feel with a salesperson all the time, they really want you to buy the less you want to buy. Even if you buy, you're like, "No." It's like, "Stop fucking trying to sell me." That's what I mean by agenda and with business, what's interesting is, everyone thinks that you need to be highly partial to be good at business. You do have to have a clear intention. You do have to have a clear goal. There's no doubt there.
How you get there if you're really highly partial, it's going to slow you down, because there might be 10 ways to get there that are better or quicker or better for the people who are getting you there. Impartiality is actually far more efficient as a way of getting someplace in business. The way I talk about or think about that often is, there is a river that we are on, particularly in business where there's where the customer wants to go, what's needed, what's wanted, where the employees want to go.
If you are reading that river and going with that river, then there's a lot less effort. If you decide you're going against that river, if you decide that you are going to not go with the flow but go against the flow or counterflow, it's a lot more effort and--
Brett: Or build a canal, as you've said before.
Joe: [laughs] Yes, or build a canal. Yes. That's the thing. To be impartial, it works incredibly well. I work with, as you know, some executives running companies of thousands of people, and there's this amazing click that happens when they realize like, "Oh, if I can be impartial in these ways, not give up my goal but be impartial in how this thing happens and be impartial with people, I actually discover what is, and then I can use that information and use that data to create a better plan.
“If I don't try to force a particular thing and we just agree on a goal, then all of a sudden, things move so much quicker and have so much more efficiency." It's the hardest one for people to get, impartiality. It's the hardest one for people to get. Yes.
Brett: It reminds me of an example you've mentioned before about trying to plan a whole basketball game.
Joe: That sounds like a good example. Can you tell me what it is? I've completely forgotten.
Brett: Oh, yes. You have a clear goal, which is to put the ball in the hoop, and if you try to plan the whole thing and you're partial to "No, the ball is going to go to this person now," but somebody is already in the way. Passing it to them is clearly not a good idea. If you're not open to other options, then you're not going to make it to your goal.
Joe: That's it. That's exactly it. Yes. Awesome. Thanks for remembering that.
Brett: Empathy then. Some folks feel lost in empathy, and they get lost in the other person, and they lose their own goals, they lose their own wants.
Joe: Yes. Empathy isn't that. I would say empathy is being with somebody in their emotions. It's not avoiding their emotional state, it's not trying to change their emotional state, it's not trying to make them happy, it's not trying to get them to an epiphany. Empathy is just like, "Oh, you're there and I'm with you," but it's also not being in it with them. It's not believing the story and saying, "Oh, it's true. Your husband does that, your wife does dah, dah, dah, and your boss...Oh my God, they are taking advantage." It's also not losing your own emotional state. Oftentimes, we'll be so empathetic with people that whatever they're feeling, we're feeling.
Brett: "Oh, you're right. I am the bad guy, I am terrible to you. Oh, shame."
Joe: Yes. That's a perfect way that people are empathetic in a way that they've lost themselves, so it's not true empathy. True empathy-- being with somebody, it's being next to them, it's holding their hand, it's not losing yourself in them.
Brett: Then wonder then. You said wonder and not curiosity or as opposed to or distinct from curiosity. Why not curiosity? Why wonder?
Joe: Curiosity, it's a lovely thing. It's like, "Oh, what's happening over there?" There's something that switches in your physical state. If you just, right now, think to yourself, "Oh, what's happening for Brett in this conversation?", there's an open expansiveness that happens with that question, but then as soon as you try to figure it out, something constricts. Wonder is living in the openness of the question with awe. Curiosity can be that, but curiosity can also become very focused on need the answer, need the answer, need the answer. I'm pointing, by using the word "wonder," to that being in the question without needing to get an answer.
If you just stop and think about, "What would it be like to be with a person who's just in the question with me, who just has wonder about what's happening with me and they don't need me to solve anything?" You can feel your whole system relax.
Brett: It makes for a lot of ease in a sales conversation as well.
Joe: Right. Exactly, because if you're not in that ease and you're focused on trying to figure out, "Err," then the person's mirror neurons are like, "I don't want to be around this."
Brett: In a way, all of this feels very process-based.
Joe: Yes, that's right. It's interesting that you mention it. Recently, I was watching a TED Talk on design process. One of the things that they were talking about in this lecture was how if you're shooting for a result, you won't get it. The thing you have to do is stay focused on the process, and it's going to go sideways, it's not going to go well at times, but the output is consistently better, than if you're going for a particular result.
If you look at design theory, they all talk about this process and having faith in the process and that it will lead you to the outcome. If you leave the process, it won't lead you to the outcome. This is the exact same thing. It's very much like living principled. You're saying, "Here are the principles I'm living by, because I know consistently if I live by them, it works out in the way that works for me and works for my deepest truth."
It's the same thing with this. That guy, Case, that I talked about in the earlier part of the program. He would get into these conversations because I have no idea what the hell is going to happen. He would always point it to that. That's what he's saying. He's saying that "I don't know what's going to happen, because if I did or if I tried to make it happen in a particular way, it's going to go to shit. It's far better for me to just be in this process and trust the process."
Brett: It sounds like this is a way to trust and flow with the self-organizing, social and business dynamics that are already occurring and not get in the way of them through a narrow-minded constraint or management of the process or over-management.
Joe: Yes, that's right. An example is, that for a while there I directed short films. One of the things that I learned was that if I wanted a very specific result from an actor, I'd get a horrible performance, whereas if I could give the actor a clear objective, then their performance just did really, really well. It's a really similar thought process, is that if you hold that objective and you trust in the process, then it works out.
That's not to say, this is an interesting part, because a lot of people when they start learning VIEW, they think, "Then I'm not allowed to have an opinion, or I'm not allowed to have a boundary," that's absolutely not the case. Those are really important things, and they can be actually incredibly vulnerable things to say, and in business all the time, I'll say, "What I'm not okay with is this." I'll just leave that upfront on the table. Like, "This isn't working for me. Here are the reasons it doesn't work for me. How do we solve that problem?" But then I'm impartial once I have that.
I'm even impartial as far as if someone says, "Why, what is it? What are you missing, dah, dah, dah?" I'm open to listening to that. If I'm not convinced out of it, I'm not going to pretend that I am to be in a VIEW conversation, because I can't be, because if I'm not being true to myself inside the conversation, I can't be vulnerable. I can't be impartial either, for that matter, and it's very hard to be curious.
Brett: The person's not doing business with you.
Joe: Yes, exactly. You're right, exactly, and then it's going to go to shit eventually anyhow. Exactly.
Brett: You mentioned earlier that there are techniques. This is all a process around a frame of mind that it emerges from, but that there are techniques. There must be something to help point us back to this frame of mind. Can you tell me a little more about that?
Joe: Yes. It's how and what questions. That's the entirety of the technique is to ask how and what questions. There is a technique that's more for running meetings that I've developed as well. The general thing is how and what questions, and the reason is, because they're open-ended questions. If you say, "Do you like ice cream?" I get to say yes or no. If you say, "How do you feel about ice cream?" You might hear a story of my childhood, and you might hear that chocolate chip is my favorite, then you might hear about my dairy allergy, or you might hear how I had a cow when I was a kid. You have no idea what you're going to hear. You get access to so much more data, which shows that you're actually in wonder. If you only want to hear yes or no, you're not really in wonder.
It's how/what questions, which are mainly-- because they are open questions. Obviously, there's who, what, where, when, and why. All those other ones are good, but they're just not very common. How and what are the most common ones, and we don't use why questions in the technique because of two reasons. One is most people when they're saying a why question, they're in judgment. It's, "Why'd you do that?" There's not real curiosity there. It's just like, "You should feel shitty, and I want you to make an excuse for yourself." That´s really what that communication is.
Brett: "Why wasn't this done on time?"
Joe: "Why wasn't this done on time?" It's like you're looking for them to make an excuse. You're already in a judgment place with them. Typically, not always. The other reason, that why questions don't work so well, is because they're the hardest questions to actually answer. There's somebody who said why questions are the questions that scientists can't answer. Like, "Why is the sun?" is a really hard question and I would say an unanswerable question, whereas "What makes the sun, how did the sun get there?" Those are answerable questions. That's the other thing.
Brett: At least there was a lot of information you can speak on about it.
Joe: Yes, exactly, so true. Exactly, you get information. You get data. The other thing is, usually when I talk about all this, somebody will say to me, "Yes, but you can be judgmental with how/what questions." Yes, you can. You can be judgmental with anything.
Brett: "What makes you such a dick?"
Joe: Yes. The funniest thing is when I'm doing VIEW, I might actually ask that question like, "Hey, what's making you such a dick right now?" If I say it from VIEW, if I say it with vulnerability, impartiality, if I say it like, "Oh my God, this is scary to say this to this person," but it's true for me that they're being a dick and I'm actually quite curious, I have wonder there and I don't really need them to answer in a particular way, nor do I want them not be a dick, and I actually can empathize with them, then their answers can be--. It happens all the time in my world where I can say, "What's making you such a dick right now?" and they'll laugh, or they'll say, "Oh, yes, I've had a bad day or blah, blah, blah" because it's not, "What makes you such a dick?"
Brett: One of those ways of asking it is open to all answers like, "Hey, did you have a rough day? What's going on with you?" Another one of them is just like, "You better have a really fucking good excuse for this."
Joe: That's exactly it. Why questions just imply it more, and it's easier for the person on the other side to assume it, than how or what questions. Also, how and what questions make you reframe questions in a new way, which triggers your brain. It opens your neurology for a second when you say to somebody something like, "What is it that's making you such a dick?" It's not a way we'd normally phrase the question. It does something to them and to us.
Brett: Yes. I've found after doing this work, there's been so many times I've been in a conversation, I'm about to say something and it starts with something other than how or what, and then I pause and then I find the thing I'm curious about. Then a question comes out and the conversation goes in a totally different direction.
Joe: That's right. Yes, exactly. That's what happens all the time. It's not just different. It's also far more meaningful and productive often. I'll do this in a room full of high-powered executives. After we have our first few conversations, I'll say, "You just had a 10-minute meeting. Have you ever had such a productive 10-minute meeting?" That's the moment of realization that everybody goes through where they're like, "Holy crap, without an agenda, I just solved more puzzles or I just overcame more roadblocks than I have having an hour-long meeting with a direct report, pushing them to an answer."
Brett: Right. There's a two-sidedness to it. There's the side that we'd spoke to earlier, where the open-ended questions give you more information, more data. On the other side, the person gets to be heard and speak their piece and speak to their wants and needs rather than checking a box of like, "Oh, which option was I given, vanilla or chocolate?"
Joe: Yes. Exactly. Because of that, you can actually come up with a better solution for a problem if you're in that position, in the conversation. But also, oftentimes that's all that anybody actually needs. I see this happen all the time where say a manager wants to be able to go in one direction and the people don't want to go and all they actually need is to be heard. When they get fully heard, they're like, "Okay, I'll go in that direction. That makes sense." We've all lived in that situation where we are basically being stubborn and, “No, I don't want to do it.” Then when we feel fully heard, we're like, "Oh, okay."
Brett: Almost every complaint I've ever heard about a boss or an employee has had some form of, I don't feel heard in it.
Joe: Yes. That's right. Tell me a time that you were at your peak productivity and you felt unheard.
Brett: Yes, no.
Joe: Yes. Exactly. Nobody can.
Brett: Unless I was shutting myself out from everybody else and doing peak productivity with myself.
Joe: Right. Which means that you were being productive in a team. That's right.
Brett: Let's swing back to the science around this. Tell me more about that.
Joe: There's a lot of stuff out there in psychology, neuroscience and CBT, all sorts of different kinds of studies, that support what's happening if you're in a VIEW state of mind. Let's focus on, let's say two or three of the main ones. One of them is just a simple thing. If you are under attack, you can't be curious, or if you're under attack, you can't learn because you're not curious. We know this and on many different levels. One, we know that if kids feel under stress, they don't do as well on tests. They don't learn as quickly.
We know that if two people are in a fight-- here's something you've never seen, one person's like, "You son of a blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, I hate you, dah, dah, dah and you're stupid, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah." The other person says, "Oh, you know what? You're right. I get your point." We don't do that, because it's neurologically not possible. That's, let's say the extreme attack where we can never see somebody, ended up being curious or learning.
Then there's just more and more subtle forms of attack. The most subtle forms of attack are you just trying to push somebody into doing what you want them to do, be happy, stop crying, just do this task. The more that attack is there, the more you're trying to push somebody into something and be different than who they are, the less able they are to learn. That's just a simple one.
If you think about it this way, it's like, if you close your eyes and you visualize yourself running from a lion and you're running as fast as you can. It's like, you can hear the paws hitting the ground, it's catching up to you. It's going to pounce on you at any minute and it's a huge thing. You know you're dead and it's coming, it's coming, it's coming, it's coming. Here's what you don't do. You don't go, "Oh, I wonder how much it weighs.”
If you actually do that exercise and you stop and you go, "How much does this weigh?" All the fear goes away, which is why wonder is such an important thing to point to. Because if you actually stop and say, "What am I curious about, what do I have actual deep wonder for?", then the fear that you have dissipates. If you're trying to push somebody into something, that's because you're in fear. That's what creates the drama of our life, is our incapacity to love people as they are. We're scared of something and so we start trying to push them around.
Brett: This lion example, it brings up a good point. That fear is actually useful. Because if you did stop running from the lion to think about how much it weighs, then you would get eaten. Fear is helpful. It's just a lot of times in our lives, we end up having a stress response that doesn't match the actual moment. It seems like you're pointing to with the VIEW– is really cultivating a lower homeostatic set point for stress from which open-ended questions can emerge naturally and curiosity can exist.
Joe: Yes. That's exactly it. That's all together true. Then there's also a practical thing, which is we are not going to be as open, we're not going to learn as much, we are not going to want to hang out with as much people, who are scared in their conversation with us and therefore trying to control us.
Brett: We'll trust them less.
Joe: We'll trust them less. That's right. Because they're trusting themselves less. They think that they have to control something to be safe, and people who actually deeply trust themselves don't think that that's true. They know that they're safe no matter what, unless a lion is chasing them.
Brett: Yes. As mammals, we can detect that in other people a mile away. We naturally do that when we walk into a room and we find out who is the one that's the most stressed out and scared, and who's the one that's the most calm. Then subconsciously we put ourselves into pecking orders based on this.
Joe: That's right. That's exactly it. The predator smells it out and attacks the one that's-- exactly. That's it. That's that part of it. Then there's also another part of the science, is that there's-- we make decisions emotionally. If you took out our emotional centers of our brain, we stop making decisions. It would take us half an hour to decide what color pen to use. It would take us four hours to decide where to have lunch. There's a great book on this called Descartes' Error. We make decisions emotionally.
Do people pay $200 for Nike shoes because they think that it's a $200 worth of shoe? No, they're making an emotional decision. Do you buy this piece of software because you like the sales guy or the saleswoman? Do you buy this piece of software because it makes you feel safe? Do you buy this piece of software, because you beat it up and you feel like that they would have answers for it? The answer is that you are buying that piece of software based on an emotion.
You might use logic to figure out the most likely way that you would get that emotion. I don't want to be yelled at by my boss, so I'm making an emotional decision to not get yelled at and I'll use logic to figure out how to not get yelled at by my boss, but we're making emotional decisions. All the information in the world won't sell people stuff. If it was just pure information, then a Nike ad would be like, "Look at this shoe. It has 6 inches of leather siding and it has 8 holes on each side for the shoestrings." That would be, "Oh”, but it's not. You make the emotional buy.
If I'm hanging out with you, you're hanging out with me because of an emotional experience that we have when we're together. If I am buying the product, it's because I'm having an emotional experience around the product. If I am wanting intimacy with you, if I would want to call you when I'm having a problem, if I want to come home and see my parents, if I don't get offended when you tell me that you need space, all those things are based on emotions. They're not based on facts. That's really a main thing about VIEW because we're acknowledging, owning, and addressing the emotional part of a conversation.
Brett: Well, when we're making a decision, there's only so much logic you can actually do, given the time constraints and there's so much more to consider. I think what you're saying is that the emotions are a way that we make a probabilistic inference based on everything that's happened in our lives with just a feeling in our body that helps shape which questions we even ask with logic to figure out the final details and then make a decision.
Joe: Yes, there's that aspect of it and there's also the aspect of it, like, “How many decisions have you made so that you don't feel like, let's say weak. How many decisions have you made to feel loved?” Whole swaths of decisions are made over this kind of thing. A VIEW conversation allows people to have all those emotions, feel safe in them and to feel actually accepted and wanted and appreciated in that experience for who they are, which we all want.
Brett: Yes, it's important to just remember that everybody that you're in a conversation with, even in a stuffy business environment, everybody's making emotional decisions based on the things you just spoke to.
Joe: That's right, absolutely.
Brett: Tell me more about the payoff and the benefits of practicing VIEW.
Joe: This is a common story in my world. I will go into a team of people, typically it's Silicon Valley teams that I go into. It's not only Silicon Valley, but typically it is. You're talking about really smart programmers or really smart business people, and they're not getting along. I remember this one particular example, the team had like an ex-Navy seal on it and a MIT triple graduate, that kind of a team of just super intense people. They weren't getting along. They weren't being productive.
Half-day into a two-day workshop, the people who hadn't been able to get along were crying with each other because of all the pain and all that resistance in their system they could let go when they realized, the person across from me doesn't hate me, isn't trying to kill me, and isn't trying to destroy my thing. We're just not communicating with each other clearly.
It was so amazingly beautiful. That team who had not hit their performance metrics, and I think it had been three years, hit their performance metrics that quarter. That's a payoff. You get a tremendous amount of cohesion, not just between the team but between you and the people around you. We all know that when we feel deeply connected with somebody that we will go to the ends of the earth to support them and they will go to their ends of the earth to support us. That's really what we want from friends. If it's a true support, it's not dysfunctional support. It's really what we want. It's what we want in our teams. That's one benefit.
Another benefit is that most people right now are like, “Conflict, how do I avoid that?” Or, “Conflict, I'll just get through it. I'm just going to push, go get in conflict so I can get on the other side of it.” When you really understand this frame of mind, conflict is an amazing thing, because what happens every time is that conflict gives you better solutions than you had before. You start looking for conflict.
Not looking for conflict like, "Ah, here's a way I can pick a fight", but like, "Oh, there's a tension. Let's go explore it." Because I know if I explore it from this frame of mind, all of a sudden I'm going to have better solutions, better answers, and better paths forward.
It's also really a lovely state to be in. It's really quite pleasant. If you are in wonder, it's a more open and spacious feeling, than if you think you know everything all the time. Think about the people you know in your life who know everything all the time. They don't look like they're enjoying themselves.
If you think about people who are empathetic, not in somebody, but they're just like, “Oh, I can be here with you in your state, that's just a more open state.” It's just a really lovely place to be. There's the efficiency that I mentioned, like with the 10-minute sessions. The other thing is that what I noticed is, when people really get into this conversation and they start practicing it, the sense of loneliness just dissolves.
There's so many people in our society who feel very lonely and very insecure. Not insecure like I'm not good enough, but insecure like, "Oh my God, I might lose my job." When they see this technique at work and they use it and that frame of mind becomes a steady state place, what happens is, they don't have that deep experience of loneliness. They know what it is to be alone, but they're not, "Oh my God, I'm all alone and nobody loves me." That's not happening.
It's not only that the loneliness starts to dissolve, but also this sense of security shows up. The sense of security is there, because you realize that no matter what your boss says, no matter what happens, you're able to have this conversation with them that actually benefits you and them consistently.
There's a deep level of security in that, because we're not really scared of losing our job and not being able to make money. What we're really scared of is that we're not going to be of value, that we're not going to be heard and that we're not going to be able to be seen for what our value is. We're worried about losing our job, but if we know that every time we have a conversation it's valuable to ourselves and the other people around us, whenever we want that, that's a deep form of security.
Brett: Right. If we're worried about losing our, job because that would mean to us that we are not valuable anywhere, it doesn't matter if you lose your job if you know you're valuable somewhere else and you could go do something that you're valuable at.
Joe: Yes, that's right. If you think about it this way, it's like, if you have a conversation with the person and at the end of that conversation, they feel they understand themselves better, they understand their business better, they want to continue to have conversations with you. That's how it works. The thing is, you don't have to know shit to do that. You just have to ask really good questions and be vulnerable in it, to be empathetic in it, to be impartial in it and to be full of wonder in it. It doesn't even require that you have skills. It just requires that you are having a conversation with them that allows the best of them to come up.
Brett: To that, I've noticed that VIEW, it seems to be like, this magical ingredient, this special sauce. You can just pour on a workplace and it transforms relationships and teams. How do you account for this?
Joe: Yes. It's like I was saying it happened in that one company. I've seen it so consistently happen and it feels like magic. I think partially because often revenue increases, because team cohesion increases, because sales methodology improves, because the products are more connected with the customer. Product development conversations are better. There's all sorts of things that happen when people feel more connected and they're actually more in wonder. They're wondering what the right question is, they're wondering what the customer wants, and when they're willing to be vulnerable about maybe that product sucks.
There's all sorts of cool things but really, when people are met with this level of openness, when they're met with this level of care and nurturing, when they're met with this level of support, they really know it. That is what relaxes something in them. It allows them to perform at their best. Like we said at the beginning, if you know you're being judged by a team, if you know that the people in your team are not open to you, you're not going to be at your peak performance.
But if you know that that's there, if you know that you can be accepted and the boundaries will be held and you feel safe in that environment, you're going to be incredibly effective. Even if the outside world is like, man, you've got two months to solve this and you better solve it, if you've got your team there with you, that's going to get you your best performance. It's going to get you your best performance in a marriage as well. If I know that my wife deeply supports me, deeply cares about me, is open to my truth, is in deep wonder about my experiences, is vulnerably sharing with me, that's what allows me to be the best husband and vice versa.
That's really the magic of it. The magic of it isn't some technique or some state of mind. The magic of it is that it allows all of us, it creates the environment where all of us can be the best, where all of us can live in our truth. That's what's the magic. It's just like a really good soil. Then the seed of who we are gets to sprout in who we are is frickin amazing.
Brett: VIEW, vulnerability, impartiality, empathy, and wonder. This has been a great episode. Joe, thank you very much.
Joe: My pleasure, Brett. Thank you.
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